Monday, March 7, 2011

Urbane Wildlife

Urbane:  Polished: showing a high degree of refinement and the assurance that comes from wide social experience.

Last week our dog Ralph was especially edgy.  In the yard, he would dart to and fro, barking at what we thought were imaginary intruders. The pup likes to defend his turf--and usually has a reason, not always obvious or visible to the human eye.  Given the eternal ice and snow of the season, edginess isn't limited to the canine, so no one thought it a big deal. 

One large oak in the yard serves as a raccoon condominium, meaning the sniff-fest wasn't without basis. Ralph isn't allowed in the yard at dusk and dawn as these nocturnal creatures head out in search of breakfast, or crawl in after a night of festivity.  It's not a good idea to get between momma and her sleep, so we are all careful to steer clear during egress and ingress.  Sometimes at dusk the hollow in the tree resembles a  clown car pulling into the circus as the masked critters pour out one by one.


Winter doesn't slow down the parade of wildlife.  As animals lose more natural habitat, offspring find ways to adapt and survive in an urban setting,  In the past decade, cities became host to species which had never set paw nor hoof within city limits. 

Last summer while running after dark I met a skunk coming around a can on trash day.  He lazily toddled in the opposite direction, clearly not intimidated, much to my relief. 

Deer have been winding their way along the Rouge corridor for years.  They detour off course to dine on neighboring gourmet hostas and other goodies.


The heavy rains followed by wet snow over the weekend gave us "lakefront" property complete with happily quacking ducks.  I have the utmost respect for the web footed fellas.
They must have insulated backsides. 



Ralph's most recent commotion was echoed by our daughter Casey who summoned everyone to the back window one morning.  We stood, holding a collective breath, as a large red fox picked his way regally around the yard, completely unimpressed by the gaping faces staring out the window.  Even Ralph was at a loss for words.




The fox posed dramatically several times before heading onto his next appointment.



Looks like we had a celebrity in our yard!  Mr. Fox apparently appeared on the cover of this month's National Geographic.

Mr. March 2011

Animals we would have expected to run into only occasionally and north of the city limits now grace our yards, creating little disturbance-- far less than many two legged counterparts.  Highly considerate, they never leave behind empty beer cans. 

All it takes to coexist is an accomodation of schedules, and some mutual respect for a workable sharing of habitats.